The BackStoppers serves 18 counties in Missouri and Illinois. Because the region served by BackStoppers extends beyond St. Louis, we rely on groups of supporters who volunteer their time to help raise awareness of and funds for our mission in the outlying counties of our coverage area. These groups, called Outlying County Supporter Groups, are integral to the growth of our cause. We are honored to share with you the efforts of the Warren County supporter group.
Eight years ago, a dedicated group of individuals from Warren County decided to make a difference. The mission of BackStoppers hit close to home for Warren County when Officer Vernon Seals, EOW 10/6/02, was killed in the line of duty. Tragically, since then two more Warren County first responders made the ultimate sacrifice: Deputy Sheriff Lonnie Cole, EOW 10/2/03, and Chief Paul Fricke, EOW 8/27/10. Community leaders, first responders and civilians residing in Warren County felt moved to support the work of BackStoppers and came together to form Warren County BackStoppers.
Every February, the Warren County BackStoppers organizes a Dinner, Dance and Auction event that draws a great crowd and brings in a generous amount of support. This annual event features a premium silent auction, performances by the St. Louis County Pipes and Drums Troupe and a unique way of honoring Warren County’s three fallen heroes. During the event, oil paintings depicting each of the three fallen heroes are displayed as a poignant reminder of why guests, supporters and volunteers are there.
A lot of preparation and work goes into making this event such a success. Months ahead, the Warren County committee holds meetings, gathers donations and spreads the word. On the day of the event, the committee, along with 40 additional volunteers, works diligently to make the evening run smoothly. The dedication and hard work has paid off in a big way; the 2018 event raised $80,000, and the total raised over their eight-year history exceeds $500,000 for BackStoppers! This support is truly extraordinary.
BackStoppers Advisory Board Member Chief Jeff Backhaus of Marthasville Vol. Fire Department shares what BackStoppers means to Warren County, “We all realize someday it could be one of us or our family that needs to benefit from this organization and we know that they will be taken care of”. The amount of support that Warren County brings to our mission is very much appreciated. BackStoppers Executive Director Chief Ron Battelle shares, “We are extremely grateful for the incredible support and dedication to our fallen heroes that this group has displayed. Thank you, Warren County!”
We greatly appreciate the Warren County BackStoppers and the Outlying County Supporter Groups. The support of these friends of BackStoppers helps us to carry out our mission of serving families of fallen first responders.